Paralyzed by Potential

Additional Reading

The concept of potential keeps us from living in the Now moment.
Ever since I was a young child, I was told how much “potential” I had. I heard it all of the time, all through school – how smart I was, how much potential I had, how I could do great things. This was all meant to stimulate and reinforce me, I know; however, what it died was place me in a state of fear – fear about not living up to my potential, fear about not being perfect at everything. This fear paralyzed me so much that I could not get a handle on anything because I was so afraid of not excelling.

Now that I am an adult, I can see how this thought of potential has affected many people. I do not really have a hobby, other than being an avid reader. I like the idea of lots of things – painting, working with clay, and drawing. Yet I do none of them. Why? Because I know I am not exactly what you would call “artistic.” I know I will not be perfect, or in this case, maybe not even ok at art-related endeavors. So for years I did not even try. I am only now starting to explore artistic expression. I don’t even know anyone with a hobby. Isn’t that sad?

Potential is something that is, if you really think about it, in the future. Potential is defined in, Webster’s Dictionary as “existing in possibility,” “capable of development into actuality.” Potential prevents us from showing up for the Now moment and just being there and living it authentically. The more I observe the world, it seems that we are either running from our pasts our running to our futures. Now does not seem to enter into our thoughts or experiences very much. The concept of potential only perpetuates this concept of not living in the Now moment.

Instead of telling our children that they have “potential” why don’t we tell them how magnificent they are Now? We should encourage them to develop their gifts and talents; however, perhaps we should choose more carefully the way that we articulate this concept to them. Maybe just acknowledging them for their unique skills, gifts, and talents is all we need do.

I don’t profess to have all of the answers, but I do see happy, carefree children at the beach each summer who don’t yet know about “potential.” I can sit and watch them for hours; these kids are totally engrossed in being all they are in the Now moment. They have no hidden agendas, no big-time goals other than to have fun in the moment.

I once heard Marianne Williamson say that if you asked a room of 5 year-olds who in the room was a singer, they’d all raise their hands! I know this is true; at 5 years old, most children have not been bombarded with the negative reinforcement that they receive later on if they are deemed without “potential” at something. They all raise their hands and assert that they can sing. That is what being authentic and living in the Now moment is all about. Children are very good teachers, indeed.

About the Author

Mary Jo is a spiritually-based career and personal coach whose specialties include career redesign, creativity, practical spirituality and life balance. She received certification as a Comprehensive Career Coach from Comprehensive Coaching U. She is passionate about assisting people in uncovering their true passion and helping them to achieve their dreams! Contact her for a 30-minute complimentary coaching session at 610.446.3704 or maryjo@coachmaryjo.com to see if the coaching relationship is a fit for you. Visit her website at http://www.coachmaryjo.com and subscribe to her FREE monthly ezine, Extraordinary Living. Get on the path to true joy today!

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